London’s best small restaurants


Don’t spread the word – London’s most exclusive restaurants only have a dozen or fewer seats to be snapped up each night, writes Lucy Thackray

Looking for somewhere new to eat? London is embracing the small dining scene. Combining luxury, good food and in intimate settings, if you’re looking for somewhere new to eat, this guide will help you discover some gems in the capital.


London restaurant

Simon Rogan of L’Enclume fame first opened this London’s chef’s table in 2017, but this summer saw a major revamp – increasing it from eight seats to 12 and reimagining interiors. Serving as an experimental test kitchen for larger restaurant Roganic, its guests get a front-row seat to the art of menu creation; a moodily-lit, petite bar with cushioned leather seats and nature-inspired art greets you before you’re led to the crescent-shaped stone counter (tasting menu £175).


London food
Photograph by Stephen Joyce

Opened in early 2023, new omakase star Mayha captures Japanese elegance with its smooth, curving wood bar, low lighting and handmade tree canopy with lantern blossoms. Chefs Jurek Wasio and Yuichi Nakaya champion a luxe simplicity: think sea urchin served in its spiky shell, or scallop sashimi with caviar and citrus. Two sittings (6.30 and 9pm) mean you can catch the early or late show, but either slot should end with a cocktail in the romantic downstairs bar (tasting menu £220).


London restaurant

London’s tiniest restaurants tend to be inspired either by the Japanese art of omakase (translation: “I leave it up to you”), or the more international concept of the chef’s table. Ten-seat Roji is pure Japanese flair: a cube-like pine counter facing an open kitchen, it’s tucked into a Mayfair alley, making it feel like a delicious secret. To try its feather-light tempura and delicate sushi, mostly sourced from Cornish waters, bag one of its two nightly sittings – 6 and 8.30pm (tasting menu £195).

Endo at the Rotunda, White City

London restaurants

Chef Endo Kazutoshi opened this 11-seat number at the top of the Rotunda building in up-and-coming White City in 2019, earning the tagline “Sushi in the Clouds”. Transforming a space that was once a BBC social club, its pared-back hinoki wood counter dates back 200 years, with between 15-20 courses served there each night. Prior to stints at Zuma and the River Cafe, Kazutoshi cut his teeth in a Tokyo omakase restaurant, so this is as authentic as it gets (lunch £195, dinner £250).

Sushi Bar, Beaverbrook Townhouse, Chelsea

London restaurants
Fuji Grill

Beaverbrook’s Fuji Grill is well established at this point, but less known is its hush-hush Sushi Bar, with just six leather-upholstered bar stools. Here a handful of in-the-know diners settle in for a 12- or 20-course omakase menu (£95 or £195 respectively) in an olive-green dining nook, where chef Jan Horak hand-shapes sushi and creates pretty bites inspired by the seasons at a simple wooden bar. An exclusive, intimate experience shared with just a few others.

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